Elias Gatos, M.D.
Surgeon Gynecologist – Obstetrician
Scientific Director emBIO Assisted Reproduction Unit

Egg and embryo donation

1,500 children are born in our country through egg donation annually, whereas currently there are more than one million children coming from egg donation worldwide.

What it is

Egg donation is an anonymised procedure during which the donor will give eggs to the receiving couple. These eggs are fertilised using sperm coming from the recipient’s husband/partner. After fertilisation, fertilised eggs will be transferred to the receiving female if she is at the proper menstruation stage. Otherwise, they may be frozen to be used at a subsequent cycle.

Applicable to these women

Egg donation is recommended to women whose genetic material is not suitable or egg production has stopped for some reason. In these cases, it has been proved that egg or embryo donation is a very effective procedure to resolve this problem. It should be noted that women having unsuccessful IVF attempts or menopausal women (no menstruation) may become mothers through egg donation.

Indications for egg or embryo donation include these cases:

  • Early menopausal women.
  • Women previously treated for cancer (ovarian stimulation with hormones is impossible due to chemotherapy)
  • Women with “bad-quality” eggs
  • Women with absent or non-developed ovaries (Turner syndrome)
  • Women aged from 43-50 years
  • Women with chromosomal problems or genetic diseases making pregnancy impossible or its outcome problematic.
  • Women with a history of multiple miscarriages

At emBIO assisted reproduction unit, there is an ongoing egg donation programme based on a donor bank who wish to anonymously donate their eggs and has so far helped a significant number of couples faced with these problems.

Egg donors

Eligible egg donors, pursuant to the Greek legislation, are anonymous and are obliged to sing special consent forms. Moreover, to be accepted in such a programme, they should meet the following requirements:

  • Aged from 19 to 35 years
  • Be healthy, non-smokers and without a personal or family history of genetic diseases
  • Have a BMS less than 32
  • Have an FSH less than 8
  • Have two functional ovaries

Moreover, they should undergo a series of tests to verify whether their health condition is good and they will be able to properly respond to hormonal therapy. Tests include:
Psychological profile
Lower abdomen ultrasound and vaginal ultrasound
Meeting with the programme manager on instructions regarding drug administration
Haematology for hepatitis, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and hormone profile

Then, donors will undergo the standard ovarian stimulation procedure. It should be noted that donors actually donate eggs, which if not aspired from their body, they will be destroyed, so their future reproductive ability will not be affected in any case.

Another option is to use borrowed embryos. This method is addressed to couples, where the wife has early menopause and the husband has azoospermia. In this case, a written consent is required both by the “donor” couple and the “recipient” couple.

Success rates

Egg donation has proved highly successful having success rates which may reach 75% per treatment and it is the only available treatment for women unable to produce their own ovaries. This treatment may give rise to ethical issues, therefore, consultation is an essential part of treatment.


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